Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lemon Balm Pesto

A few days ago I posted about my herb garden and the lemon balm that started taking over the whole space. I search a bit around for ideas on what to do with it and came across this easy recipe for lemon balm pesto. I thought it sounded just too good and with my love for pasta the perfect solution. So yesterday, as Wendy came over for dinner (she is one of my favourite Guinea pigs) I made the pesto and mixed it with ricotta cheese, more garlic, onions and some seasoning. The recipe called for 3 cups of the pesto but since it was just Wendy and myself I thought I get away with just one cup. So I picked the leaves of the stalks (which took longer than to actually cook the dish), whizzed it in my super food processor together with olive oil and garlic. I tasted it and it was awful. Simply awful as if I took a spoon full of grass. So more garlic and whizzed it more finely. Drained the ricotta and started mixing the pesto in - a spoon at a time (there was no way I was using the whole lot of it). I added very finely chopped onions (the recipe called for minced onions but I wanted some texture in it), more garlic and my herbal salt. After a few spoons full the ricotta started to taste quite nicely, so I added some grated Parmesan and et voila we had a mixture that I could use. Cooked pasta shells (there is a lovely little Italian shop in Ballincollig called Pane E Vino ) and filled them with the cheese mixture. Arranged them in an ovenproof dish and sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top. Bake it until the Parmesan crisped up a bit. It was lovely, light and fresh - next time I will add a tomato sauce to it and bake it with the sauce. I am not sure if the pesto on its on would be nice (like tossing it with spaghetti or covering fish with it) but in the ricotta mixture, it was lovely. And thanks to Wendy for being so brave and always trying my experiments

No comments: